"Cheap Skate, Tennis Shoes and Karma"

Yesterday in the morning, as is my usual practice, I jumped into the shower, shampooed my hair, soaped up my washrag and began to bathe myself. As I leaned over to wash my feet I noticed that someone else had used their soap down to a sliver and then thrown it into the corner of the shower – very normal practice here. However, today upon seeing this normal sighting I stopped immediately, because I suddenly realized that the piece of soap that someone else had thrown away was BIGGER than the piece I was STILL using!

So, I leaned over and picked up the discarded piece of soap, softened it with the hot water of the shower and then, using my hands, squeezed it together with my piece and made one decent sized, very usable piece, which I then used to finish my shower…I’m so laughing at you right now! Of course I didn’t pick it up. I’m just bustin’ your chops; but I was a little embarrassed, and even chuckled out loud, that someone had thrown away a sliver of soap bigger than the piece I was still using – point is: I never really thought of myself as a cheap bastard, but, I guess you could say, the proof is in my soap dish.

Tennis Shoes and Karma

I had a pair of sneakers that I really loved, they were Fila’s, very nice. Anyway, the prison store here started sellin’ these cheep Reebok walkin’ shoes and I traded something I had for a pair of ’em.

Weeks go by and this illegal from Mexico shows up. I watch him and notice that he ain’t got nothin’ , I saw that he was working cleanin’ cells, ironing and so forth…in other words he wasn’t a free loader. To make a long story short, I felt sorry for him because he didn’t have any shoes other than the boots that they give you when you walk in the door, and bein’ that I had two pairs of sneakers I decided to give him one of mine…for some reason when I bent down to pick up the Reeboks, I hesitated and picked up the Filas, and gave them to him.

A couple of weeks later I see this other Paisa ( what they call themselves ) out on the yard wearin’ them selfsame Filas, the only pair like ’em on the yard. So I pull up on him and in my best gringo spainish ask him how he got ’em: he told me that he had bought ’em. I have to admit it right here and now, I was a little thrown back by it…angry even…I friggin’ loved those shoes.

Anyway, water under the bridge.

Recently they started to sellin’ a pair of New Balance sneakers that everybody was sayin’ were the most comfortable shoe they had ever sold. Bein’ that I do a lot of walkin’ my ears perked up and I decided to investigate just how comfortable they actually were, so I asked a friend of mine who had a pair if I could try his on…son, they was all that! I wanted a pair badly. However, there was one problem, I didn’t have the money to get ’em…they were seventy dollars!

Week after week I watched people go to the store and buy them shoes, and I salivated at the mouth wanting to get me some…but alas, my family is very busy and the money I was expecting never came. I accepted the reality that by the time I would get my chance to buy ’em, that they’d be sold out…and the day came when that was true. I quit thinkin about it’, like I said, water under the bridge.

Two days ago, this guy I share conversation with, a Paisa, who incorrectly thinks I’m some kinda prison guru, walks up to me and hands me a pair of those New Balance shoes I had so wanted, and says ” Here. I bought myself a new pair of those black Nikes and I noticed that you needed some shoes. So I thought you might want my old ones.” To say that I was dumbfounded would be an understatement, because they were practically new. In my gratuitous state of mind I vowed to pay him for ’em when my money hit, but he refused, said, ” A gifts a gift.”

Now I know that this will probably come as a surprise you, but sometimes, I can be a complete ass. Let me explain.

When the guy I had given my good shoes to sold ’em, I was angry, inside. I remember very clearly sayin’ to myself – I ain’t helpin’ no more of them Paisa’s…I might have even thrown in a couple derogatory comments, too. Anyway, my point is this: I did a good thing – but muddied it up by expecting him to do with those shoes what I expected him to do, which was…I don’t know…think I was saint or somethin’ ever time he put ’em on…I don’t know…anyway, I even singled out his people by thinkin’ I ain’t helpin’ no more illegals…did I mention that the guy who gave me his New Balance shoes was a Paisa?

God sure has a clear way of teachin’ a fella somethin’. I guess that my Karma for givin’ away my shoes was to be given a better pair in return. I can only hope that my Karma stops right there, ’cause if it don’t, then that Paisa’s probably down in his cell right now sayin’ to himself, “I gave that ol’ gringo my good shoes ’cause I thought he needed shoes, and two days later I see him in the shower pickin’ up soap off the floor – cheap bastard’s probably rich! ” lol

This is definitely the strangest life I’ve ever had.

Peace be with you, Mark

Three Rivers, 2-15-17